I recently changed jobs, and I thought it would be a time-saver in the future if i’d write down some quick instructions to setup my mac.

first step: install a decent browser

I use firefox. At the same time i installed some of my favorite plugins: Vimperator, JSONView, HTTPS Everywhere, Privacy Badger, Ghostery, Disconnect, Adblock Plus

install a decent terminal

I use iTerm2 all the time, it’s epic. Don’t forget to set the fullscreen mode to classic.

With a decent terminal in place, let’s get some of the things we need:

Install Homebrew
Run these commands to install some basic tools:
brew update
brew install ack chicken cowsay ctags ffmpeg git gpg guile newsbeuter node pandoc pass screen sl stow the_silver_searcher tig trash tree vim wget z

install dot files

Clone dot files from dotfiles repo on bitbucket and install them using stow.

install virtualbox & vagrant

Install virtualbox & vagrant

configure some stuff

  • mails
  • git
  • dropbox?

That’s about it, set up in 1 hour!

I recently discovered the awesome GNU Stow application (works on unix-like systems like GNU/Linux or Mac OSX). Stow is a symlink manager, that allows you to easily deploy and remove files to or from a directory.


Let’s say you have some configuration files in your home directory (eg: .bashrc, .vimrc and a config directory .vim) and you want to have them in git to be able to track your changes and such. It’s not a really good idea to make your whole home directory a git repo. That’s where Stow comes in. Just create a configuration directory, for instance ‘dotfiles’, and create a subdirectory for every app you have configs for. Then place the appropriate files into the right subdirectory, like this:


You can now make the dotfiles directory a git repository, and keep your dotfiles safe in git. But they’re not yet in the right place, so we’ll ask our symlink manager to fix that for us.

Create symlinks

  1. cd to the dotfiles directory
  2. You can make Stow symlink the files to your homedir like so:
    stow {package}
    where you replace {package} with the name of the subdirectory you created earlier.
  3. If you now want to remove a certain package’s config files, just do this:
    stow --delete {package}

How to install Stow

On Mac OSX

Use Homebrew:
brew install stow

On GNU/Linux

Install stow using your favorite package manager, e.g.:
apt-get install stow

That’s it!